Stressed Upper Register, Thin Tone, ay caramba!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BPinard, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. BPinard

    BPinard Pianissimo User

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    Jun 14, 2005
    Setauket, NY
    Hi Manny,

    Let me first start off by saying that it's really a privilege to be able to interact with you here.

    Ever since school started, (just this past Tuesday) I've been having problems playing. I'm now in the advanced jazz band and wind ensemble (it's a step above the regular concert band). In Wind Ensemble, we're playing a lot of marching band music (homecoming is coming up and WE also doubles as the pep band for all home games). Some of the marching charts go up to high C above the staff. Since we started playing on the second day of school, I noticed a slow but steady degradation of my tone and range. I know that you always say something along the lines of "A beautiful high register starts with a beautiful low register," but my low register tone has gone downhill also. It's really thin sounding. I've been working on the Clarke Technical Studies (I & II) trying to get my tone and range back. When I try for the upper register (top line G to D), the tone sounds incredibly stressed and 90% only air comes out. I haven't hit a high D since before school started. Could you recommend me some exercises? I'm becoming more and more reliant on using mouthpiece pressure (ACK!).

    Thanks a lot!
    if you need to know more, just ask
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    Yikes,

    Let's see what we can do here.

    Since you don't mention the middle register as a problem, I'll assume that it isn't. Let's start there.

    We need a few basic thinks to check WITHOUT the horn. When you breathe, are you filling up all the way? All the way should not be tight and bursting at the seams but a good portion of the way there. When you fill up try doing it through the nose and not the mouth. Try to make each one fuller then switch to the mouth. Are you getting a snake-like hiss when you breathe? If so, stop that and go more for a yawn style inhale but not with your mouth wide open like you do in Science class.

    Grab the mouthpiece and SING a C major scale. Check the pitch and do it tons louder using a HA on each note. Connect each note when you do it. Notice how easy your breathing mechanism works when you use a full-sounding HA on each note. Now do the same with the mouthpiece and get that full sound you got when you were singing . If you're a player who uses vibrato PLEASE use it with the mouthpiece.

    Grab the horn and play the scale. Big yawn, big sound, plenty of vocal style vibrato, like a singer.

    Go grab your Clarke's and play through some of the low chromatics on the first page. Play the lowest notes a little higher than you're accustomed to. I'm sure you're over-reaching the low register and pulling them flatter than they have to be. You need a great buzzing quality to the low register, a ton of core.

    As you ascend into the upper register don't let the air go thin with an EE vowel. Think Ah all the way but keep feeding it air. If you don't it'll just close up all over again. Got any Doc recordings? Now's the time to listen to them and do what he does soundwise in that approach to the upper register.

    That's the best I can do without hearing you live.

    Good luck,

    ML
     
  3. BPinard

    BPinard Pianissimo User

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    Thanks for the speedy response. I'll give all of that a shot.

    :-)
     
  4. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Over the years I have noticed this happening to a large number of students. Sight reading tension and not being properly warmed up for rehearsal are two biggies. Also just the fact that you are being exposed to some less than desirable sounds can throw you off. You need to spend time in the practice room attending to your sound, away from the band.
     
  5. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

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    Bada-boom, bada-bing, Billy B. Thank you!!

    ML
     
  6. timothypierson

    timothypierson Pianissimo User

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    Feb 20, 2005
    On the subject of sight-reading tension, I had a rehearsal yesterday with a British Brass band that I am playing in. While I was sight-reading the Downland Suite I had a few bad notes in my playing. During a rest I remembered the advice that you always give about making sure your taking deep breaths. So in the next entrance I took a nice deep relaxed and "let" the lips buzz, I still missed a few notes and rhythms but played much more cleanly and confidently. After playing a 2 hour rehearsal I felt like I just warmed up, granted I was only playing 2nd but I was by myself and didn't have a lot of rests.
     
  7. Stradivarius

    Stradivarius New Friend

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    Aug 24, 2005
    California, US
    I know I am not quite as old, I mean wise, as you guys. I have some experience with inconsistent range, and I think I have figured out a way to help a bit. Usually for me, when I can't play very high, it's because I played WAY too high and did not warm down. For example, a little over a week ago I blasted a Double A at forte. Ever since then I have not been able to play very high, and since I damaged my lips, my lower notes sound a bit worse too. I think that it is because I forgot to warm down. Every time I forget to warm down, it takes a week or two to recover. So what I suggest doing to quicken recovery time is to play low, slow, and soft before you do any playing, maybe even before warm ups, every day. This kind of helps you to loosen your lips, and not have to put as much pressure. Hope your range comes back!
     
  8. BPinard

    BPinard Pianissimo User

    Age:
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    Jun 14, 2005
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    It actually is coming back, along with my tone. I strongly believe my new M-B6 has helped my playing in almost all respects. it's a lot more free-blowing than my Bach 3C
     

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